As I was reading my daily industry newsletters the other morning desperately craving a donut a headline in the QSR email about Dunkin' Donuts caught my eye. Even though it was the donut craving that brought me to the article the thing that kept my attention is Dunkin' Donuts has topped Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index for the 7th year in a row in the coffee category. For this accomplishment Dunkin' Donuts beat out Starbucks, McDonald's and Tim Hortons. They also topped the packaged coffee category beating out Starbucks, Folger’s and 9 others. I automatically think of this world we live in as a Starbucks world so I was surprised to see that Dunkin' Donuts has reigned over the coffee loyalty category for so long.
Brand Keys measures the engagement, delight and loyalty of the customers for the brands in their index, but they don’t tell us exactly how the brands acheive this. One thing is for certain, if Dunkin' Donuts has maintained the top for customer loyalty in the coffee category for 7 years they are obviously doing something right with their customers. I took some time to check out Dunkin' Donuts' internet presence and they are definitely connecting with their customers in multiple ways. Deepening your relationship with your customers by communicating to them fosters loyalty. Dunkin' Donuts appears to be covering all the marketing basics for connecting with their customers:
- Blog – where they post recipes, notes from the CEO, promotions and other fun ideas
- Facebook – pictures of their products, trivia as well as utilizing the banner to highlight the fan of the week
- Twitter – interact with customers by replying and retweeting their tweets
- DD Card with Mobile App – credit card that allows mobile payments, mobile offers and
- Email Club – by signing up to receive emails customers receive a free drink and will also be emailed a free drink coupon on their birthday
Dunkin' Donuts is utilizing their online presence to connect with their customers and make them feel special by offering rewards, relevant information and a place for fans to be recognized. All of these customer connections are not exactly different from Starbucks though so why do they continue to top them in loyalty? For companies that are a relatively similar size (Starbucks has more stores in the US – 10,787 than Dunkin' Donuts – 7,300) my guess is that it has something to do with their product.
One of the things we all know is you can be the best at marketing and connecting with your customers but if you can’t deliver a quality product it just doesn’t matter in the end. Like I said though this is only my guess since Dunkin' Donuts has not moved into the Minnesota coffee scene. This saddens me because I fondly remember stopping at the Dunkin' Donuts in Anoka pretty much every Sunday morning growing up. For now I will just have to check out the beans at the supermarket and see what all the customer loyalty fuss is about.
The Brand Keys index has been around for started in 1997 and serves to rank customer loyalty for 375 brands in 54 different categories from athletic footwear to social networking site. Request a complete listing of the Customer Loyalty Engagement Index here.